Saturday, August 27, 2011

Finally Ireland…!

Thursday, 25th of August. This ferry from Fishguard Harbour railway station up to Rosslare Harbour was right how a ferry should be. Quite small (compared to my other ferry experience downright tiny). Many travelling pedestrians. The car deck looked much more like a small parking garage with nooks and crannies, not available for trucks (this Stena ferry goes three times a day up to Ireland, I took the express line, I suppose the slower lines are for trucks, too, as I saw some trucks waiting in the harbour yesterday). It's so much better than the last ferry! The ferry's windows are made to afford a good outlook, you are really on a boat, not within one of these synthetic autonomous universes on its own. Most space is used to offer different areas to sit and chat. And… you are able to go outside!

It was an extreme and intense up and down on this ferry, although the staff said it's quite normal. Nevertheless all of us passengers had very funny walks and you could hear some laughs about this and the rocking ship at all – maybe this amusement was also caused by lots of alcohol… – "[Pirates] drink lots of rum and after that they stagger and when the ship is rocking as well it evens out…". Other people appeared to be sea sick, sometimes I wasn't so sure about me, too, but I did it well already.

I really like this ferry company which seems to care a lot about their passengers and they cared perfectly about the bikes, too (there was one more bicyclist at the ferry who started in London and will now cycle through Ireland for two weeks), it just felt like great service.

Even the crossing was cheaper as I had thought from looking at the internet – quite the contrary to the other company DFDS Seaways, who charged my nearly double price. They reasoned this because of no online booking. (Okay, by total numbers it's not such a big difference: 39€ instead of 21.50€ for me and my bike to do the 63 kilometres from Dunkerque up to Dover in two hours, and 34€ – or 28£ – instead of 38€ for the 106 kilometres from Fishguard up to Rosslare, also in two hours.) I bought a nice traveller's map in the ferry's shop about Ireland which had a fair price (and so I was able to get rid of my last English money). This meant I didn't had to think about this anymore and was able to know how to navigate from the first moment in Ireland.

When we reached the harbour I first thought: oh, we already arrived (it was such a quick crossing), not till then I thought: Now I am in Ireland! I had a stop at the harbour to correct my luggage, when a guy come up to me, asking about my tour, and then he offered me a bed for the night in Curraglass because he did much hitch hiking in the past and was familiar with the needs a traveller has. I already have a host in this area so I had no usage, but I had a nice talk with Matt and his girlfriend Kylie who I met, too, and I invited them to join my blog and to stay with Klaus and me in Bamberg if they ever come to Germany again. I would be glad to hear about them again. Thanks for the great welcome in Ireland!

Even the way how Ireland received me was so much nicer in comparison to England who even didn't received me. But in Ireland there wasn't this heavy traffic at the harbour, instead of that there were likeable signs who remembered anyone about the left-hand driving in three languages (English, French and German). From the first moment I was so enthusiastic and thrilled about being in Ireland. I cycled the 75 kilometres up to my this day's host Mark and his wife Patti within four hours, just flew through this great landscape and felt happy. Small roads with nearly no traffic – my main image of Ireland is about freedom. I'm so glad to be here.

When I had to pee I used a place behind some bushes – and was amazed when I revolved to see this herd of young cows who were so curious about me that they all had come to the gate. I love cows for being so interested and observant. When I started cycling again, they followed me doing gallop as long as possible. Cows like to play and are anything but dull.

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